Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Gulfport, Miss., native Natasha Trethewey will speak at Loyola University on Thursday, Nov. 10, as part of the university’s Biever Guest Lecture Series. Trethewey’s first book of poems, Domestic Work, was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the 1999 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Native Guard, won the Pulitzer. She has since released a third collection of poems, Bellocq’s Ophelia.
Trethewey will be discussing her newest book, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast at the event. The book is inspired by Robert Penn Warren’s meditation Segregation: The Inner Conflict of the South, which Warren wrote in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Beyond Katrina grapples with, among many other things, the notion of nostalgia, the longing for a place that never existed. Trethewey includes an epigraph from Flannery O’Conner to this effect: “Where you came from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it.”
Click here for a video (which for some reason is not on Youtube) of Trethewey discussing the book.
Below, an Emory University Distinguished Faculty Lecture that Trethewey gave on why she writes, in which she riffs on T.S. Eliot, George Orwell, and Black History Month in the first few breaths.